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Must I refrigerate in order to marinate?

In the event that I want to marinate something, do I have to put the food item in the 'fride?

Let's say that I want to marinate a New York Strip. Why can't I just soak the meat in the marinade and leave it out on the counter for an hour or two?

My problem is that I always cook meat at room tempature, and I want to be able to marinate and warm up the meat at the same time.

Can anyone give me a good reason why marination should take place in the 'fridge vs. at room tempature?

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  1. I believe that the marinating time is shorter if left on the counter. Many recipes say marinate in the fridge for 3 hours or at room temp for 30 min. (I just made those times up as an example.) I often marinate at room temp for short periods of time.

    1. For an hour or two...No harm..No foul, but why would you want to soak meat in some kind of concoction for that period of time? Do you not like the flavor of beef?

      Have Fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Bob

        I love the flavor of beef. However, I don't consider this cut something that is glorious all on its own. I was only thinking about leaving the beef in the marinade for about an hour to give it a little somethin'-somethin'.

      2. Hi NightMan. I think you can leave things on counter in marinade, depending. . . if you're dealing with chicken, I'd be careful. Most other stuff, tho, should be okay. I wouldn't leave raw chicken out for more than an hour at most due to bacteria growth.

        1. My mom always marinated her beef in a pan on the kitchen counter. There's no reason not to, unless you have a large dog (or cat) in which case you should keep your eye on that pan so it doesn't end up all over the floor and in his mouth!

          1 Reply
          1. re: bluemoon4515

            Unless it's 8 hours or overnight or the like, we always marinade on the counter. And make sure it's out of our golden retreiver's reach.

          2. if I started with a cold piece of steak or whtaever, I do. In fact if there's olive oil in the marinade, it seems to work better.

            1. The "good reasons" involve the type of microbes that might infect your food. Take a look at this advice before making your decision.

              1. I would take my mamma's advice about food -anyday- over government food rec's.

                The government told me trans fats are fine, oleo is better than butter, eggs are bad for you ..and ketchup is a vegetable.

                My mamma said leaving meat on the counter for a few hours is fine.

                I'll go with mamma.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sedimental

                  I'm with you and your mamma.

                  You know, if you don't cook a burger all the way through, someone's going to tell you that you'll get sick.

                  If you cook a burger all the way through and you eat all the char left on that poor, mistreated peice of meat, someone's going to tell you that you'll get cancer.

                  I've never gotten sick from my own cooking, and I almost never follow any of USDA rules.

                  1. re: NightMan

                    the usda link was actually a very decent bit of information. won't hurt for anyone to read and abide by it.

                    1. re: NightMan

                      I follow some government food rules -but not others. I like my eggs over easy or over medium, I still grill meat -and prefer red meat "pink" in the middle for most cuts. I know this goes against government recommendations. I guess I am just a big risk taker :)

                  2. You can marinate on the counter as long as it's not for too long... the meat soaks up more flavour at room temperature than in the fridge.